On Dec. 1, Volvo Trucks announced to its employees that it will be laying off 734 people in February at the company’s New River Valley assembly plant in Virginia.
The layoffs will take place over a three-week period in February as the company reduces production at the facility. The New River Valley facility currently employs 2,800 workers.
North American deliveries have been up 20% through October and demand for Volvo’s proprietary engines and I-Shift transmissions is still high, according to the company. But after last winter’s record truck orders, peaking in early 2015, the second half of this year has been slow by comparison and the layoffs are a reflection of an industry-wide correction, said Volvo.
“Highway customers, who drove much of the recent market growth, have largely accomplished the expansion and renewal of their fleets, so demand from that segment in particular is softening,” said John Mies, a spokesperson for Volvo Trucks. “The U.S. economy also is navigating through a soft interval caused by high inventory levels, which has decreased manufacturing and freight levels.”
Earlier this year, Volvo announced plans to expand the New River Valley plant with a $38 million investment to fund a Customer Experience Center and to improve safety, quality and efficiency at the facility.
The 1.6-million-square-foot truck assembly plant is one of Volvo Group’s largest manufacturing facilities. The New River Valley plant assembles Volvo VNM, VNL, VNX, VHD and VAH trucks.